Healthy Food in Vietnam: Tofu & Tao Pho

Now in my thirties, I have clear memories of curling up on my grandfather’s lap, back when I was a small child.

He’d sit on a old wooden bed and smoke a china bowl pope, his ancient shriveled hands breaking grilled tofu into pieces and dipping the morsels into salt.

As a child, I thought that the tofu chinks looked unappealing, but the adults seemed to enjoy eating them. It was common to see cyclo drivers eating this dish by the roadside during their breaks at the time Hai Phong still had many flamboyant trees and low small houses.

If I shut my eyes I can still smell the scent of grilling tofu.

Tofu is among the healthy food in Vietnam not to be missed!

Healthy food in Vietnam
Healthy food in Vietnam

Heathy food in Vietnam

Tofu

Even today grilled tofu is still offered in cheap beer bars, where customers enjoy its pungent taste. Tofu is used in all sorts of ways. Dried boiled or steamed. This ingredient however is rarely served at feasts or fancy dinners.

Most Vietnamese people consider tofu to be humble fare. It is cheap and readily available. In Asia, people have been making food from soy beans for century. Tofu and other soy products are associated with devout Buddhists, who are vegetarian for religious reasons. Soy products are used to make meat substitutes that sometimes look and taste just like meat.

Visit any market in Vietnam and you will see women selling Tofu out of flat baskets. Shoppers come to know who make the best tofu and popular vendors sell out early. In Hanoi, Dau Mo (Tofu from Mo Market) is considered a specialty, like basil from Lang Village or soy sauce from Ban Village.

The Tofu makers in Mo Village have their own secret, although all tofu contains similar ingredients. Perhaps the tofu in Mo Village observe better standards of quality control, using better ingredients and refusing to cut corners to obtain a short term profit.

Making Tofu is time consuming.

Producers are up most of the night in order to get their tofu to market at dawn. First one must grind the soy beans then filter them before cooking, cooling packaging compressing and peeling the resulting tofu. Each step requires careful and experienced hands.

Today, the old villages of Ke Mo are but a memory. The streets feature narrow shop-house and high rises. Even Mo Market is long gone, having been demolished to build a shopping centre. Food lovers in Hanoi, however still recall the excellent of Mo tofu.

Tofu in Vietnam
Tofu in Vietnam

Tao Pho

Tofu makers produce a range of products. The output of their first step of production is Tao Pho, a white, condensed pudding that is serve as a dessert with sweet syrup. Very popular with women, this is a good snack on a hot summer day.

In northern Vietnam, Tao Pho sellers often ride bicycles with a barrel of Tao Pho behind them. The vender uses a flat spoon to ladle thin layers of Tao pho into a bowl before adding syrup.

Today as people are increasingly affluent, the more sophisticated Japanese style of Tofu is gaining popularity. The purest product of the tofu cooking process this type of soft tofu may be found on buffet tables and at fancy feasts.

In my view, this type of tofu is too soft, breaking apart as soon as one takes a bite. For daily fare, I prefer the ordinary, traditional Vietnamese tofu.

Some afternoons, I sit at a roadside restaurant under a flamboyant tree and enjoy the rich taste of grilled tofu flavored with turmeric. This dish never fails to remind me of my childhood.

Good food doesn’t need to be expensive and there’s so much healthy food in Vietnam!

Good food is food that is eaten at the right time and place and that makes you feel good.

Looking for more food in Vietnam? Check out these posts:


Vietnam from clouds

Things to Do and See Around Danang, Vietnam

 

Central Vietnam is home to the azure waters of the East Vietnam Sea and the spectacular Truong Son mountain range as well as ancient cities and unique culture.

Danang is one of the largest cities in Vietnam and marks the central point of the country.

Here are some tips of things to do around Danang Vietnam

Drive the Hai Van Pass

The Hai Van Pass is a 21km road which zig zags through the mountains to link Danang with Lang Co. The pass is renowned for its scenic beauty and even featured on BBC’S Top Gear!

Explore the city of Hue

Hue is a city in central Vietnam that was the seat of Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. A major attraction is its vast, 19th-century Citadel, surrounded by a moat and thick stone walls. It encompasses the Imperial City, with palaces and shrines; the Forbidden Purple City, once the emperor’s home; and a replica of the Royal Theater.

Immerse the senses in Hoi An

Hoi An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda. Take a tour by Cyclo to include the Japanese Bridge, Phung Hung old house, Phuc Kien Assembly Hall and local market.

Discover the temples of Mỹ Sơn

Mỹ Sơn is a cluster of abandoned and partially ruined Hindu temples in Quảng Nam province, central Vietnam, constructed between the 4th and the 14th century by the Kings of Champa, an Indianized kingdom of the Cham people. The temples are dedicated to the worship of the god Shiva, known under various local names, the most important of which is Bhadreshvar.

Stay in a Private Pool Villa at Banyan Tree Lang Co

Located just 60-minutes from Danang International airport, Banyan Tree Lăng Cô is nestled in a unique crescent bay framed by a three-kilometre beach on the Central Coast of Vietnam. The area is renowned for its pristine coastline, tropical jungles, rugged mountain peaks and close proximity to three of the world’s most stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the cities of Hue and Hoi An and the relics of My Son. Designed to offer absolute privacy and exclusivity, Banyan Tree Lăng Cô features lagoon pool and beach pool villas, each of which is equipped with its own private pool, pavilion deck and king-size bed.

Guests can indulge in a spa treatment at the award-winning Banyan Tree Spa, turn their hand to a Vietnamese cookery class, take an excursion in a traditional basket boat to explore Lăng Cô’s beautiful lagoons within a local fishing village, and explore the breath-taking natural beauty that surrounds the resort.